Too much tertiary education... Former performer/wrestler, teacher, scientist; Published author & Father... Want to be a writer if I grow up...
Published July 31st 2022
Some suggestions for new albums worth considering
I've noticed that my worst columns for views tend to be album and book reviews. That is the reason I have done very few book reviews of late, and album reviews are generally those where I know the artist is popular or I have been asked to review the work. However, last year I reviewed a number of albums at once and people seemed to like that idea. As such, here I will look at 5 albums I have bought so far this year, and that were released this year. There have been a few albums I have not liked, so they will be ignored. Without further ado, here are 5 good albums for you to consider!
In order of release date, but all are from 2022. These are from May and July.
I only discovered Halestorm in 2019, so I was incredibly late to the party. I found a couple of their CDs in a second hand shop, already knew of Lzzy Hale, so I went for it. And that meant when this album came out, I got it straight away. Lzzy Hale steals this. Her voice is amazing, one of the best voices in rock today. Not best female voices best voices. Period. The album is only 40 minutes long, but it does not let up at all. This makes me think that the "rock is dead" crowd don't know what they're talking about. But it's more than just Hale the whole band is tight as anything. If you like your rock loud and in your face, you would be hard-pressed to find a better collection from the past few years.
Freedom by Journey
I was not sure about getting this at first, because I have to say Journey without Steve Perry has not felt the same. However, I have softened over the years, and reading this was the band's first album in 11 years (!), and the fact it was not that expensive, I bit the bullet and grabbed it. All right, two negatives out the gate it is insanely long (over an hour) and some of the production choices are baffling. Right, having said that, the musicianship is awesome. They play so well, and they play well together. Neil Schon, the band's guitarist and stalwart, leads from the front, but I actually really enjoyed the singing of Arnel Pineda more than I thought I would. Is it their best? No. Is it good? Definitely yes.
From The New World by Alan Parsons
Alan Parsons (sans Project) is an artist that I sort of fell away from in the 1980s, but this was recommended to me by a friend, and so I grabbed it. It is still a Parsons album, still coming from those prog rock roots, but not as OTT as much of that 1970s/80s output. There was something laid-back, almost, about this album and the songs. And it finishes with a cover of the Ronnettes' 'Be My Baby'; I cannot find another cover song on any APP album in my collection, so it could be a first. But this is a fine album, and feels like almost a goodbye, which made sense when I read about his ongoing medical issues. Really strong and one worth investing the time in.
Masquerade by Bananarama
It's hard to believe that Bananarama have been together as a band for more than 40 years. They are a duo now, but the members Keren Woodward and Sara Dallin have been there since day 1. This album harkens back to their 1980s output in sound, but with enough modern production to not make it feel like it is stuck in the past. Unlike many people, I have kept up with some of the comings and goings of Bananarama since the end of the 80s, and this is the best music they have recorded in many years. They can both still sing well, and looking at the liner notes, they were involved in writing 9 of the 11 songs and the two they weren't were written by Dallin's daughter. This is a fun pop album, and I think it deserves to be better known, especially listening to the rest of the pop on the charts at the moment. Another strong collection.
Melt Away: A Tribute To Brian Wilson by She & Him
She & Him are a duo consisting of Zooey Deschanel and M. Ward. I know they've been an act for a few years, but the only other album of theirs I have heard was Classics, a covers album that was okay. Well, they're back with another covers album, but this is all Brian Wilson covers. The thing about it is, even though they do tackle a couple of the better-known songs penned by Wilson, a lot of them are deeper cuts and album tracks. And this is not a note-for-note covers album they add their own twist to proceedings, bringing out the melancholy that underlines much of Wilson's work, even his cheerier songs. This is the sort of covers album I like, when the artist adds their own spin to the songs without making fun of them, and then that working. Oh, and to show what Wilson thinks, he even crops up on 'Do It Again' singing backing vocals. If you are a traditionalist, you may not enjoy this album. But I found it a really strong collection of songs.
And there we are 5 albums that are well worth your time. Of these, my favourite is Back From The Dead by Halestorm, but you would not go wrong with any of them, depending on your musical tastes. Depending on when I get more music and how I like it will dictate when I do the next one of these compilation lists/columns.
2022 has already shown that it is filled with great music, so I hope that continues. I will say I also got the 40th anniversary CD/DVD of Cold Chisel's Circus Animals as well, and it is still as awesome as it was "back in the day". But as a re-release/re-issue, I didn't think it fit well here, so there's another one to look out for.